By Lane Roberts
For 77 years, Walt Disney Pictures has been teaching us a lot about life.
From learning to never giving up on our dreams (Cinderella) to having unrealistic hair expectations (I’m looking at you, Ariel) to embracing the scary but exciting (and unavoidable) reality of growing up (Toy Story), Disney has remained an integral mentor to generations past and will continue to be one for many generations to come.
The newest release from Walt Disney Pictures is Frozen, a film that delivers a traditional Disney message with a few twists up its sleeve. Contrary to the traditional Disney script, there is not one, but two princesses (okay, technically, one is a queen) and even the prince who comes and sweeps Anna (Kristen Bell) off her feet isn’t the celebrated hero in the end. The contemporary storyline was a smart decision for Disney: female-led movies ruled the box office in 2013 and, as of early January, the movie earned over $642 million.
Sisters Anna and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are inseparable growing up. The sweet little girls spend their days using Elsa’s superpower (think Frozone in The Incredibles) to frolic around the castle while ice-skating and making snowmen.
One day, Elsa accidentally freezes Anna’s brain (literally). Anna recovers (a magical troll king erases the memory of the accident and of her sister’s powers altogether), but Elsa must promise to conceal her powers for the rest of her life to protect herself and everyone around her. Elsa is locked away and the gates to the castle are closed, leaving Anna alone and confused.
Following their parents’ tragic deaths and Elsa’s coming of age, Elsa is crowned queen, much to her terror. As she has gotten older, her magic has grown stronger and she is unable to control it. Meanwhile, Anna is delighted that the castle gates will be opened so she can interact with people and, more importantly, find her one true love.
The coronation proceeds without a hitch; Elsa manages to conceal her magic and Anna even finds the prince of her dreams, Prince Hans, who proposes to her a mere few hours after their first meeting. When Anna reveals her plans to marry Hans, Elsa loses it and inadvertently plunges Arendelle into a perpetual winter.
Fearful of her persecution, Elsa flees to a self-imposed exile, leaving Anna and the rest of Arendelle stunned. Anna, ever the loyal optimist, chases after Elsa with the help of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his trusty steed (reindeer), Sven, and a magical snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad), to try to convince her to return and rescue Arendelle from the miserable cold.
While Frozen may not become an instant Disney classic, it accomplishes what it sets out to do; it entertains the audience (albeit a young one) with song and dance while sending a message that transcends generations: sometimes the people who are most worth “melting” for are not the handsome princes, but rather the family who has been there for you through it all.